I encourage you; aim to be complete in your faith
It’s faith in God that aims at the goal of being complete in our relationship with Jesus Christ and others. James, Jesus younger half-brother, recognised the believer’s need to persevere in working toward spiritual completeness. This Christian maturity is to impact every sphere of life, recognising that nothing is to be deprived of Christ’s influence.
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind (James 1:2-6 NET).
Here, James draws our attention to the usefulness of trials. The very thing which the world presents as negative, God uses for His glory and our benefit. Christians receive assurance from the presence of “all sorts of trials” because God uses them to test the authenticity of our faith in Him. Obviously, if faith is genuine, it will persevere through struggles. Whereas pretend faith is temporary by nature; usually dictated by circumstances and feelings and always leading its victims away from the Lord.
Realise that a believer’s “endurance” through trials, including personal failures and stumblings, gives evidence of genuine faith. This is God’s design for the progressive development of our faith. While many simply give up when the going gets tough, “brothers and sisters” in the Lord “consider it nothing but joy.” This is because they understand God’s purposes for growing mutual comfort, support and maturity within His family. Togetherness in relationship loyalty is vital for the outcome of spiritual completeness! Believers need their fellow believers in order to grow.
The unfairness of half portions
Most of us dislike it when we receive incomplete things in life. Half portions of anything when we expected to receive a whole portion leave us feeling robbed. So it is in our walk with the Lord. God’s love for our spiritual completeness of character permits and even orchestrates struggles to aid us in this endeavour. Our maturity and holiness means everything to our Heavenly Father. He’s willing to risk whatever is needed to advance our personal development into likeness of His Son.
It’s our responsibility to “let endurance have its perfect effect.” Bailing out on God robs us of growing to the full measure of maturity which results with us recognising that we are “not deficient in anything” in Christ. This fantastic goal in Christian life is to be shared with fellow believers, walking together, growing in like-minded purpose of Christ’s development together.
It’s reassuring to know that “if anyone is deficient in wisdom,” we can ask God for it. We certainly need lots of wisdom to endure for the Lord while we “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We pursue this “in faith without doubting,” not “blown and tossed around by the wind,” for together we stand firm, unitedly growing in Christ for His glory.
I encourage you to confess the Apostle Paul’s words; “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Come Lord Jesus!
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz